About Katherine

Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, MI is a highly acclaimed and nationally-known public speaker.  She gives keynote addresses & conference presentations, facilitates workshops & seminars, and conducts training on many varied topics within genealogy.

Her genealogy interests began when she was a Junior Girl Scout working towards a “My Heritage” badge, and her passion was fueled when, after college, both her mother’s and father’s relatives gave her binders containing generations’ worth of family information.  

Katherine’s continued research evolved into teaching Genealogy 101, Genealogy 102 and Computer Genealogy classes for Ann Arbor Rec & Ed for the last 17 years, as well as taking on multiple private clients, for whom she compiles family history books for publication.  

Her success in using Facebook to break down genealogical brick walls (both personally and in her classroom) inspired her to compile a list of 11,200+ Facebook genealogy links (updated June 2017).  She has created an engaging & dynamic presentation on the use of Facebook as a genealogical research tool, geared towards genealogical societies, seminars and conferences (click here for a list of additional presentations available for your society, seminar and/or conference). 

PS:  Don’t miss Katherine’s other, much smaller list – a compilation of instructional genealogical channels on YouTube.

Her passion for genealogy combined with practical and creative strategies keeps Katherine’s audience fully engaged and actively participating in her energetic and entertaining presentations.  Participants leave with the tools necessary to do their own research, as well as the inspiration to do it!

An Army Reserve wife of 20+ years, Katherine supports military families as a member of the Cadre of Speakers for the Dept. of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program since 2010, traveling regularly across the country to speak at conferences for military members in the deployment cycle and their loved ones.  

In addition to her love for genealogy and public speaking, she is a mixed-media artist and served for 10 years as a board member for the Ann Arbor Women Artists (President, 2009-2013; Vice-President & Chair of Juried Exhibits Committee, 2007-2009; Treasurer, 2003-2007). You can see some of her work in a Facebook photo album and also on her Flickr page.

Katherine currently serves on the Membership Committee for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, is the Secretary for the Genealogical Speakers Guild, Vice-President/President-Elect of the Michigan Genealogical Council, Vice-President of the Ford Genealogy Club (MI), Director for the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County (MI), and Corresponding Secretary for the Detroit (MI) Society for Genealogical Research.  She is also member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society.

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